Abuja - The International Republican Institute (IRI) on Monday commended the high level of citizens’ participation and the transparent conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections.
Constance Newman, the Leader of the Election Observation Mission and former Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, gave the commendation while briefing newsmen in Abuja.
She said that while there were flaws in the conduct of the election, it was a transparent process, with citizens protecting their voting mandate.
She said that in spite of the delay in the arrival of election materials in some parts of the country, voters waited patiently.
She lauded their resilience and determination to ensure that the election process was viable.
"We want to praise the determination of the Nigerian voters to see the process through to the end.
"From the accrediting process to the vote count, even if it meant returning to their polling units the next day to repeat the polling process.
"The elderly, women with their children and people with disabilities moved immediately to the front of the lines during vote count," she said.
Newman equally extolled the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the military and other security agencies for their role in ensuring free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
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She further commended the National Youth Service Corps for carrying out their duties as ad-hoc staff in about 150,000 polling units and voting points in spite of difficulties encountered in the process.
"Overall, the delegation saw some improvement in INEC’s administration of the electoral process since 2011 and more, significantly, the introduction of new technology in an effort to bring about a greater transparency to the process.’’
The former Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, however, expressed the mission’s concern over cases of violence in some states.
She also expressed disappointment over the delay in the arrival of electoral materials as well as difficulties in the use of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), among others.
"The success and failure of this election will impact not only on Nigeria but the region and the world.
"As the most populous country in Western Africa, people here and the international community are looking to Nigeria as a role model for a successful election.
"Therefore, a democratic transition and a peaceful election will be critical to achieving that success," she said.